Unscientific knowledge and the egg aging panic  /

Another science war: fictitious evidence on women's fertility and the "egg aging" panic in 2010s Japan


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Description: In the early 2010s, Japanese society recognized and experienced a panic about increasing infertility and people's lack of knowledge about human reproduction. This paper focuses on several graphs that misrepresented or distorted scientific findings that were used in the campaign related to this panic and explores (1) how the graphs were made, used, and authorized, and (2) how they contributed to changes in discourses and policies. Findings are the following: (1) The graphs were made in the field of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive medicine by questionable methods, including falsifying, trimming, and misunderstanding of data. (2) Researchers in the field of fertility study relied on secondary and tertiary sources thus ignoring and compounding errors. (3) Such inauthentic research was approved and politically mobilized by professional organizations, rather than being penalized or criticized. (4) Discourse based on such unscientific knowledge may have encouraged a pronatalist policy of promoting early marriage and education about human fertility and life planning, targeted at teenage girls.

License: CC-By Attribution 4.0 International


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